Source: The Mercury, 27 November, 1998, p.12
By KATE HANNON Social Affairs Writer ONE in eight children are living in poverty and Australia's soaring rate of marriage breakdown is to blame in most cases, a new study has found. There are about 612,000 dependent children living in poverty with either a sole parent, usually their mother, or with one or both of their parents unemployed. The study by the National Centre for Economic Model- ling at the University of Canberra, released yester- day found one quarter of children living in poverty were aged under five years. One of the authors of A Portrait of Child Poverty in Australia in 1995-96, Pro- fessor Ann Harding, said three quarters of dependent children living in poverty were aged under 13 years. More than half of the chil- dren lived in families which relied on government social security benefits such as the dole or the sole parents' pension. The study said most chil- dren in poverty still lived with both parents but the parents were among the "working poor", earning less than $10 an hour or working few hours a week. "But the risk of being in poverty is very much greater if their mother - or less often, their father-is a sole parent," the study said. "In three quarters of such cases they come from a for- merly intact family, and their mother or father is now separated or divorced. "Only one in every 20 children in poverty lives with a never-married parent." Children who lived in in- tact families faced only half the risk of poverty compared with children in broken mar- riages or partnerships. Whereas once families had more than three children their risk of poverty in- creased sharply.
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